What Is the Importance of Resiliency in Sports?

Cropped shot of an athlete with a sports towel around her shoulders

Resiliency means being able to bounce back easily from a negative situation, such as disappointment or injury. Athletes who are resilient do not let a game loss or post-workout muscle soreness get them down for too long a period of time. Resiliency is important in sports, just as it is in life.

Building Confidence

Resilience can be a confidence-builder in sports. Athletes who have a negative attitude about their abilities do not have high levels of confidence that their talents are being recognized. The British Psychological Society suggests a link between "confidence beliefs" -- having confidence in yourself -- and resilience. People who have strong confidence in themselves are likely to be more resilient when a setback occurs, because they know they are capable of a better outcome. Those who waver in the area of self-confidence may not bounce back as quickly because they think their poor performance is warranted. This can be an endless circle, but if you make a point of moving on after a disappointment, taking comfort in the fact that you did move on can be a boost to your confidence. The more you are resilient, the more confident you will begin to feel about your sports abilities.

Work Ethic

Bouncing back after a subpar athletic performance is important as it encourages athletes to review, or in some cases, develop a positive work ethic. Achieving lofty goals -- in the sports arena as well as in a figurative sense in life -- is not easy. Winners do not just get handed a medal for showing up; they have success through hard work. Resiliency reminds you that there will be times when you would rather give up and quit, but if you continue to work hard, you might just achieve your goal the next time.


Resiliency in sports allows athletes to put the past behind them and focus on the present and future. Holding on to painful or traumatic events such as losing a basketball game at the buzzer or completing a marathon with a disappointing time can impede athletes from moving on and succeeding in future events. Resilience is the strength to succeed over adversity, according to Mark Katz, a San Diego-based psychologist and resilience coach. Let go of the mediocre or poor performances and figure out a way to improve your time, jump or endurance.

Start Young

Resiliency in youth sports can benefit a child's overall success in academics and life, as well as in athletic achievements. According to the University of Florida, children who participate in sports reap social and emotional benefits from their involvement. The reasons for this varies, but can include the involvement of attentive parents and coaches, the increased practice of life and social skills and the intellectual stimulation provided by extracurricular sports. Teach children resiliency within their athletic program at a young age to boost their self-esteem and future productiveness.